Archive for August, 2011

News and Analysis (8/3/11)

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

“A new Gallup poll shows that they are more likely than Christians or Jews to object to the targeting and killing of civilians”:

“Lying on a stretcher in standard-issue white prison overalls, behind the bars of the defendants’ cage, the 83-year-old spoke just once to confirm his presence and enter his plea”:

“Many young people think then that their parents are too weak and that they don’t know Islam, so they look for other mentors,” leaving them vulnerable to Internet radicalization, but women who take the Inspire workshop find themselves able to educate their children on authentic Islamic teachings:

Media outlets “critical of the government have raised doubts about the experience of the” new acting chief of general staff, and “point out that he has had no experience serving in NATO structures, nor has he received training in the United States”:

“The Sisterhood’s charity work has, for years continued to attract new recruits from across the country — particularly vulnerable unemployed youths — allowing the movement to steadily gain strength despite long years of suppression under former President Hosni Mubarak’s regime”:

“[H]undreds of protestors remain in prison as stories circulate of torture and arbitrary arrests”:

“Senior separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani says” he considers the business community’s concerns “when deciding strike calls. He warns India, however, not to misread the calm – which he calls ‘the lull before the storm’”:

“Malaysia’s Muslims and non-Muslims in its Chinese, Indian and Christian communities alike … inundated the television station’s Facebook page with angry complaints that the commercials insulted non-Muslim ethnic minorities”:

 

Ramadan Reflection: A Lesson from an Interfaith Friendship

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011

One of the justifications for interfaith dialog is that in contemplating the religion of others one gets insights into one’s own. At the funeral of a dear Christian friend last month I had an insight so profound that both Christians and Muslims with whom I have shared it have insisted that I must write it up. Before I share it with you, let me explain how it was revealed to me.

When I first met Bill Hurst at the Grand Opening of the libertarian bookstore Avenue Victor Hugo in Boston in 1975, he was an agnostic. He had been raised as Catholic, but in his early twenties found the conflict between reason and the dogmas of his church challenged his faith until he could not honestly profess a belief in God. It was not that he was not without faith in anything, however, for he maintained throughout his life a commitment to truth and justice. This included a passionate commitment to the cause of the Palestinians, which, because of my Palestinian origins, added a special dimension to our common belief in the general cause of liberty, as did my sympathy for the “troubles” of Bill’s Irish heritage. When, years later, the disinformation campaign against Islam displaced the vilification of Palestinians, Bill’s sympathies embraced that and his friendship with me immunized many of his friends and relatives against the poison spreading through our society.

When Bill and his wife Rebecca adopted their daughter Amy, a Jewish social worker urged them to take her to church so that she could have the benefits of feeling part of a spiritual community. Rebecca urged Bill to have Amy baptized at six months and she took her to church every Sunday thereafter. At first Bill only joined them on special occasions, but and when she joined the choir at age seven, Bill began attending every Sunday in order to support her, but when parishioners would ask if his attendance signaled a return to faith, he told them no, he was still among the unconvinced.

Then, God tested him with a severe illness. Bill’s lungs began to fail him until he had to carry around an oxygen tank, at first a small one hung from his belt and eventually a large one on a cart. As his illness got progressively worse, Bill was sustained not only by his loving family, but the loving church community. When I attended the wedding of his elder daughter’s wedding last year he joyfully informed me that his faith had returned. It was God’s love, he told me, that sustained him as he suffered hardships that people without his spiritual awareness would count as a cause to lose one’s faith rather than restore it.   I doubt he ever lost his faith. Can anyone with his uncompromising trust in justice and truth really have no faith? I believe his knowledge of the divine Truth was only hidden from his conscious mind by the obstacles dogma can put between the sincere mind and the pure heart of religion.

Listening to his  daughters speak at the funeral, my mind suddenly put into words the explanation of why an intelligent person might fail to realize the reality of the miraculous truth underlying the power of faith:

REASON CANNOT SEE WHAT IS NOT THERE. LOVE NOT ONLY CAN SEE WHAT IS NOT THERE, IT HAS THE POWER TO BRING IT INTO BEING.

Can you see liberty of Muslims in the East and the West? Can you see the harmony between the Muslim world and the West? Our material eyes cannot see these things, but our love for them can bring them into being, if our love is strong enough to move us to action.

I pray this month of Ramadan opens up the hearts of Muslims everywhere to the truth of this insight so that they can love all the oppressed as my friend’s little Christian community loved him. As the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is reported to have said, “Who does not want for his brother what he wants for himself is not a believer.” Ramadan Mubarak!

Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad, Ph.D.
Minaret of Freedom Institute
wwww.minaret.org

 

News and Analysis (8/1/11)

Monday, August 1st, 2011

On the pretext that he is protecting Americans from foreign laws that would violate their constitutional rights (we already have a document that does that –it’s called the Constitution!), an Israeli settler “with a history of controversial statements about race, immigration and Islam” is behind “a cadre of conservative public-policy institutes and former military and intelligence officials” striving to exclude Muslims from the very same constitutional rights he pretends to protect:

“It will be the first time a civilian government decides who commands the various armed forces in Turkey”:

“Divisions deepen over killing of Abdul Fatah Younis, while forces elsewhere report gains in Misrata and Nafusa mountains”:

“‘We don’t have to be bikini-ready every summer,’ the 23-year-old laughed. ‘But you should be healthy'”:

After most protesters leave for the Ramadan fast, police disperse the hard-core remnant shouting “Down with military rule!” with clubs:

“With the expectation that protests could become a daily occurrence during Ramadan” Syrians are reported to have killed over 100:

Iran’s penchant for releasing prisoners in Ramadan gives ground for optimism:

“Hours after China blamed Muslim separatists trained in Pakistan for a deadly attack on Sunday in its northwestern Xinjiang region,Islamabad on Monday said that it would extend full cooperation to Beijing against terrorists involved in acts of violence”: